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Exams regulator and minister to face questions on summer results and plans for next academic year

16 August 2021

The Education Committee will question England’s exams regulator Ofqual in the wake of this year’s A-levels, GCSEs, vocational and technical qualifications.

Purpose of the session

Appearing before the Committee will be Ofqual’s interim Chief Regulator, Simon Lebus, and its interim Chair, Ian Bauckham CBE. Also giving evidence will be Nick Gibb MP, Minister for Schools Standards, Department for Education (DfE).

The cross-party group of MPs will question the panellists on what lessons have been learnt from the 2020/21 academic year. Following the publication of results, concerns have focused on grade inflation in academic exams, as 44.3% of A-level grades awarded to 18-year-olds in England were A or A*, up from 25.5% in 2019 before the pandemic struck.

There is also concern regarding growing inequality between private and state education, and the lack of support for children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) or from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Committee will inquire into the Government’s plans for assessment in the 2021/22 academic year, and how it will support pupils who have already had their studies disrupted by the pandemic.

Chair's comment

Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Education Committee, said:

“Students, along with their hardworking teachers and support staff, deserve to be congratulated on some outstanding results after overcoming all the challenges posed in this most difficult of years. Ofqual and the DfE must now focus on ensuring all young people, particularly those that have missed out the most on learning during the pandemic, are properly supported in taking exams next summer. There also needs to be a proper plan for returning to more normal grading standards to reverse the grade inflation that has been baked into the system.”

Witnesses

Tuesday 7th September

At 10am 

  • Simon Lebus, Interim Chief Regulator, Ofqual
  • Ian Bauckham, CBE, Interim Chair, Ofqual
  • Nick Gibb MP, Minister for School Standards, Department for Education

Further information

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